Diners in downtown Kittery, Maine, in search of hand-crafted cocktails will soon have a new destination. Anju Noodle Bar is working on opening a cocktail bar behind the restaurant.
“It’s not necessarily an expansion of Anju,” said the restaurant’s co-owner Julian Armstrong. “We took the office space behind us and we’re making a small, eclectic-feeling bar that’s going to focus on high-quality cocktails and New American bar food.”
Armstrong and his business partner Gary Kim will be joined by Michael Pazdon, who’ll run the new cocktail bar. Armstrong and Pazdon grew up together in Durham; most recently, Pazdon was bar manager at Goose & Gander in California’s Napa Valley.
There’s no official name for the bar yet. Armstrong said he expects it to open sometime this spring.
“We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel with the cocktail list,” he said. “Our focus is on really high-quality, locally sourced bases for the drinks.”
Plans are also afoot to expand the drink selection at Anju. Armstrong said the restaurant plans on offering bottled sparkling cocktails and adding to its beer and wine offerings.
“(The bottled cocktails) will be bright and refreshing; they won’t be big, heavy, barrel-aged whiskey drinks,” he said.
There are also plans to add the bottled cocktails to the products sold through SonMat Foods, the restaurant’s retail arm. And, in February, Armstrong said Whole Foods supermarket will begin distributing SonMat’s hot sauce. — Larry Clow